Cobra Lash Assassin Build Guide - Path of Exile 3.24

04.04.2024 - 17:40:55
Game Guides , Path of Exile , POE build guides

Cobra Lash Assassin Build Guide - Path of Exile 3.24

Cobra Lash is one of the most overlooked skill gems in Path of Exile. Other players would usually gravitate to building a character centered around Spark or Tornado Shot because of their insane damage scaling in the late game. However, Cobra Lash is such a good skill to use, especially if you want a good build that can clear entire maps without a problem.


If you are interested in creating a fast mapping character in the game, you’re in the right place! This is our ultimate build guide for the Cobra Lash Assassin in Path of Exile 3.24 Necropolis League!

Mechanics

Cobra Lash is an attack skill gem in Path of Exile that fires projectiles that deal chaos damage. Unlike other skill gems in the game, Cobra Lash has some pretty interesting mechanics.


For one, it has an innate physical damage converted to chaos damage modifier that you can scale by putting flat physical and % physical damage mods on your weapon. The gem itself grants you a chance to poison enemies on hit, which is quite useful since you’re going to choose Assassin as the ascendancy class for this build.


Despite not having a Transfigured Gem, the base version of Cobra Lash is already pretty good at killing enemies effectively. Instead of getting only a 5% “more” damage multiplier with hits and ailments for each remaining chain, that number has increased to 8%. On top of that, increasing the gem’s quality to 20% gives you plus two additional chains, meaning, the projectiles will chain up to seven times for even more damage (up from just five chains in the previous leagues)!


In case you don’t know, “more” multipliers in Path of Exile are calculated multiplicatively with other similar mods that you have on your gear. This translates to an overall higher damage output, which is why the Cobra Lash gem has become more popular today.


To maximize the inherent chaining projectiles, you are going to use Large Cluster Jewels with the Fan of Blades notable passive. This allows your Cobra Lash to fire an additional projectile when using a claw or dagger, so if you can put two of these on your passive tree, you can destroy enemies in maps more quickly!


In the endgame, you will also be using Medium Cluster Jewels with Follow-Through as one of the mods. This notable passive skill increases the damage of your Cobra Lash projectiles by 15% for each remaining chain. If monsters are bunched up together on the screen, you can eliminate them with ease if you have all of the cluster jewels just mentioned.


That said, to maximize Cobra Lash’s damage, you need to look for the following mods on your gear:

  • Added Physical Damage

  • Increased Physical Damage

  • Added Chaos Damage

  • Increased Projectile Damage

  • Increased Attack Damage

  • Increased Attack Speed

  • Increased Critical Strike Chance

  • + to Critical Strike Multiplier

  • + to Damage Over Time Multiplier

  • + to Chaos Damage Over Time Multiplier


On the budget version of the build, you will rely a lot on chaos damage over time. For this reason, you will complement Cobra Lash with Plague Bearer as well. This is a skill gem that works similarly to Righteous Fire when dealing damage.


Basically, Plague Bearer has two different phases. The first is the “Incubating” phase where it stores a portion of the poison damage you deal with Cobra Lash. The second is the “Infecting” phase where activating the skill unloads the poison damage you have stored in the incubating phase, dealing chaos damage over time to nearby enemies.


In the end, you will reallocate your passive points to accommodate multiple cluster jewels. You will also equip a much better weapon; one that you can craft using the Imperial Claw as a crafting base. You can refer to our ultimate crafting guide for more information.

Cobra Lash Projectiles

Playstyle

So, how exactly do you play a Cobra Lash Assassin build? Well, it’s actually fun and easy. Spam Whirling Blades to move in and out of packs, proccing Tornado linked to Power Charge on Critical support for those extra Power Charges. Then, just use Cobra Lash on enemies and see them disappear within seconds! 


On stronger enemies, you will drop an Ancestral Protector totem to make you attack faster. Furthermore, the totem is linked with the Withering Touch gem that gives it the power to inflict Wither on each attack. Wither is a debuff that causes enemies to take more chaos damage.


How about the budget version? The playstyle is a bit different. Whirling Blades does not proc Tornado, so you just use it to traverse the map. Additionally, you activate Plague Bearer whenever you have dealt enough poison damage with Cobra Lash. Once the stored poison damage has been depleted, deactivate Plague Bearer and attack with Cobra Lash again. Rinse and repeat.


Keep in mind that the Cobra Lash Assassin is primarily built as a fast mapper. However, if you want to kill bosses with it, you have to invest a lot more currency to get the best possible gear.

Ascendancy

There are two ascendancy classes that are viable for a Cobra Lash character in Path of Exile: Assassin and Deadeye. This build guide is focused on the Assassin version, but the Deadeye is also a very good alternative.


The reason why we went for Assassin in this build guide is that it has notable ascendancy passives that improve your critical strike chance and critical strike damage.


When you complete the first labyrinth, get Ambush and Assassinate. This ascendancy passive provides the following bonuses when allocated:

  • 15% more damage with hits and ailments against enemies that are on Low Life

  • +40% to critical strike multiplier against enemies that are on full life

  • 100% more critical strike chance against enemies that are on full life

  • 100% more critical strike chance against enemies that are on low life

  • Critical strikes have culling strike


Ambush and Assassinate is a must-have as it boosts your chance of dealing critical strikes early on. Once you get this, your clear speed will skyrocket because the critical strikes you deal also have culling strike, which instantly kills enemies that are below 10% HP.


The next ascendancy passive you should allocate points into is Unstable Infusion. This enables you to gain a Power Charge whether you’re dealing a critical strike or not. On top of that, it increases your maximum power charges by one.


Each Power Charge ups your critical strike chance by 50%. Typically, each character in PoE can only gain up to three Power Charges. With Unstable Infusion, that limit is bumped to four.


For the third ascendancy passive, go for Noxious Strike. This increases your chance to poison targets on hit by 40%. Additionally, the poison duration on enemies is increased by 5% for each poison you have inflicted in the past four seconds, up to a maximum of 100%.


Since this build has a lot of attack speed, you’re going to stack plenty of poisons on the enemy without even trying. Over time, these poisons stack up to deal insane amounts of damage.


Your last passive is Toxic Delivery. The poisons you inflict with Cobra Lash critical strikes deal 25% more damage. Besides that, it adds 0.5% critical strike chance per poison affecting the enemy, up to 2%.


When you reach a high enough level, you have a choice of removing Unstable Infusion in favor of Mistwalker


Mistwalker grants Elusive on critical strike. Elusive is a buff that provides you with a 15% chance to avoid all damage from hits and a 30% increased movement speed. Keep in mind that the buff decays over time. Don’t worry! Your high critical strike chance ensures that you’ll gain Elusive again shortly after it reaches 0%.


Notable Ascendancy Passives for the Cobra Lash Assassin

How About Deadeye?

If you’re a fan of the Deadeye, you can use Cobra Lash with the said ascendancy class as well. Instead of taking advantage of poison, the Deadeye version relies heavily on “on-hit” damage. 


The Deadeye has access to Endless Munitions - an ascendancy passive that grants two additional projectiles. With an increased number of projectiles fired per shot, you’ll see enemies dying immediately due to Cobra Lash’s projectiles piercing through them. With the new Returning Projectiles gem introduced a couple of leagues ago, Cobra Lash’s projectiles deal damage twice at the cost of 61% lower damage output on the return.


The downside of the Returning Projectiles gem can be mitigated with Deadeye’s Far Shot passive due to its 60% “more” damage multiplier against distant targets. You see, the returning projectiles always go to their maximum distance before they come back to you, so you’ll always take advantage of Far Shot’s damage modifier.


Gathering Winds synergizes really well with Cobra Lash as it provides you with a 20% increase in action speed. Action speed affects both your movement speed and attack speed.


Ricochet is an ascendancy passive exclusive to the Deadeye that allows Cobra Lash’s projectiles to chain one additional time. Because the said skill gem takes advantage of chains to deal more damage, Ricochet effectively increases your damage output, most evident in enclosed spaces.


So, which class should you choose? The Assassin focuses more on dealing poisons and utilizing damage over time, while the Deadeye is more of an “in your face” approach to killing enemies. This is a matter of preference. Do you want to slay enemies using damage over time? Go for Assassin. Do you want to fire as many projectiles as possible to clear enemies? Pick Deadeye.

Gear

The Cobra Lash Assassin is a good league starter because it can work with a minimal investment. Of course, this build shines even further the more PoE currency you invest into it. Do not worry, we will provide you with budget and endgame options so that you will know your upgrade path later down the line.

Main Weapon (Claw)

A great weapon to use for the Cobra Lash Assassin early on is the The Wasp Nest. It’s as if GGG made this weapon specifically for the build because it has all of the goods, such as:

  • (150-170)% Increased Physical Damage

  • (20-25)% Increased Attack Speed

  • (20-25)% Increased Critical Strike Chance

  • +(330-350) to Accuracy Rating

  • 20% Chance to Poison on Hit

  • Attacks with This Weapon Deal 80 to 120 Added Chaos Damage Against Enemies Affected by at Least 5 Poisons


Its unique effect perfectly synergizes with the Assassin ascendancy class, particularly when you have Toxic Delivery allocated. You don’t have to worry about accuracy too much because of its inherent +350 to accuracy rating. The attack speed and crit chance mods it possesses are just too hard to beat for a unique claw that costs below 5 Chaos Orbs in each league! The Wasp Nest is so good that it can take you to red maps without a problem.


The Wasp Nest


However, to maximize your damage output with Cobra Lash, you need to craft a weapon using an ilvl 85+ Imperial Claw or Eye Gouger as a base. These claws have implicit modifiers that enable you to gain life on hit with attacks.


That said, to make it easier for you to craft the endgame weapon, you must get a claw that has a fractured prefix mod, preferably a Tier 1 or Tier 2“% Increased Physical Damage.” Then, use Perfect Fossils to increase its quality to 30%. This gives you a higher chance of rolling higher-tier mods. After that, follow these steps:

  1. Since this is going to be your endgame weapon, you must use Deafening Essences to ensure the best possible outcome. Assuming that you have the “% Increased Physical Damage” fractured, use Deafening Essence of Envy for that guaranteed flat chaos damage mod

  2. Spam the claw until you get Tier 1/Tier 2 “Adds # to # to Physical Damage”

  3. If you have an open suffix, go to your Crafting Bench and put “Prefixes Cannot Be Changed.” If you don’t have an open suffix, use an Orb of Annulment and hope that you remove a suffix. If you annulled off any of the prefix mods, you’ll have to spam the weapon with essences again

  4. Use a Veiled Orb to get a veiled suffix. Before unveiling it, make sure to go to your Crafting Bench and put “% Increased Damage per Endurance Charge” to prevent it from appearing on the list

  5. Then, head to Jun to unveil. You’re looking for the following mods:

    1. +(25-28) to Strength and Intelligence, (28-32)% Increased Critical Strike Chance

    2. +(25-28) to Dexterity and Intelligence, (18-22)% Increased Attack Speed

  6. If the mods don’t appear, you have to repeat steps 3 and 4. If one of those mods does appear, head to your Crafting Bench once more and put the mod that is the opposite of what you have unveiled. For instance, if you’ve unveiled the attack speed mod, put the crit strike chance modifier from the Crafting Bench

  7. Now, it’s possible that you still have an open suffix at this point. Since you already have the modifiers that you need, you can simply use an Exalted Orb and work with whatever comes out as a result


After following the crafting steps, you should have something similar to this:


Self-Crafted Claw


Now, if you are really ballsy and you want to min-max the heck out of the weapon, then you can follow almost all of the steps above, but instead of using a fractured claw, you’ll be using a simple ilvl 85+ Imperial Claw or Eye Gouger. The reason for this is so that you can use the Hunter Exalted Orb at the end for a chance of obtaining the mod, “(21-25)% of Physical Damage Converted to Chaos Damage.”


Remember that the Cobra Lash skill gem only converts 60% of your physical damage to chaos damage. If you have the Hunter mod, you can easily reach 100% with the help of the implicit modifier on the gloves. This will result in much better damage output! 


Self-Crafted Claw (with Hunter Mod)

Shield

The Cobra Lash Assassin build utilizes a shield for defensive purposes. Ideally, you want a evasion-based shield with the following mods:

  • % Chance to suppress spell damage

  • + to Maximum life

  • Elemental/Chaos resistances

  • % Chance to block

  • %Increased armor and evasion


You can get these mods by spamming your essence of choice. To guarantee chaos resistance, for example, spam it with Essence of Envy until you get a chance to suppress spell damage.


Once you are happy with the mods, leave a prefix open and so that you can bench-craft “Gain 8% of Physical Damage as Extra Chaos Damage.”


Self-crafted Shield



If you don’t want to craft, Atziri’s Reflection is a good alternative. This unique golden buckler provides the following benefits:

  • +(40-60) to intelligence

  • (180-200)% increased evasion rating

  • +(20-30%) to all elemental resistances

  • Hex reflection

  • Unaffected by curses

  • (15-20)% increased effect of your curses


Atziri's Reflection

Body Armor

For body armor, you have two viable options. First is the Dendrobate Sentinel Jacket. The “increased damage with poison if you have at least 300 dexterity” mod is hard to pass up. Get this inexpensive gear as soon as you can because this will carry you through red maps. Wear this until you can get your hands on a better body armor.


Dendrobate


The second choice is a self-crafted body armor with the following mods:

  • +1 to level of socketed active skill gems (Shaper/Warlord)

  • 10% to quality of socketed active skill gems (Shaper/Warlord)

  • You can apply an additional curse (Hunter)

  • Attacks have +% to critical strike chance (Hunter)


To craft the endgame chest, you need to have two different influenced body armors, preferably with Triumphant Lamellar or Carnal Armouras the crafting base. One should have a Shaper/Warlord influence and the other a Hunter influence.


On the Shaper/Warlord-influenced body armor, use an Orb of Scouring and Orb of Transmutation to turn it into a magic (blue) item. Then, spam it with Orb of Alteration until you get the mod, “+1 to Level of Socketed Skill Gems.” You want to elevate this by using an Orb of Dominance, but it can only work if the armor itself has two influenced modifiers. So, to add the other one, go to your Crafting Bench and put “Prefixes Cannot Be Changed.” Then go to your Harvest Bench and select the “Reforge Caster” to get “% to Spell Critical Strike Chance,” which is another influenced mod. 


If you are using a Warlord-influenced body armor, use Harvest Reforge Physical since there are a couple of mods that have the “Physical” tag on them.


After getting two influenced modifiers, use an Orb of Dominance and hope that the gem mod gets elevated. If it’s successful, it will turn into “+1 to Level of Socketed Skill Gems, (5-10)% to Quality of Socketed Skill Gems.” Once you have this mod, set the body armor aside for now.


Now, for the Hunter-influenced body armor, follow the same process above by spamming it with Orb of Alteration until you get the mod, “You Can Apply an Additional Curse.” After that, you are ready to combine the two influenced armors into one. You do this by using the Awakener’s Orb and then clicking on one body armor and then the next.  Make sure that the Triumphant Lamellar or Carnal Armour is the last one you click so that it will be the final base.


You’re not done yet! Go to your Crafting Bench and put “Prefixes Cannot Be Changed” again. If you don’t have an open suffix, use an Orb of Annulment and hope that none of the influenced mods get removed. In the event that they do get annulled off, you need to start the process all over again!


Anyway, after locking the prefixes, go to the Horticrafting Station and use Harvest Reforge Attack. This guarantees the suffix, “Attacks Have +(1.1-1.5)% to Critical Strike Chance.” Now that you have all of the mods you need, just use an Exalted Orb or the Crafting Bench to complete the craft. When you follow all of the steps, you should have something like this:


Crafted Body Armor (Endgame)

Helmet

The rest of the gear for this build can easily be crafted with essences. Basically, use essences to fill in the gaps. Do you need more attributes? Use Essences of Sorrow, Spite, or Rage. Struggling with resistances? Spam Essences of Hatred, Anger, Wrath, or Envy. HP too low? Rectify that by utilizing Essences of Greed.


It is important to note that you need to cap your spell suppression to improve survivability. This is because most of the monsters in Path of Exile deal spell damage and the said defensive layer effectively cuts that to half.


With the removal of helmet enchants in the previous league, you want to craft the helmet using the Deafening Essence of Loathing for that “% Increased Mana Reservation Efficiency of Skills” mod. This is to ensure that you have enough mana to activate all of your auras. Ideally, you want to use a Pig-faced Bascinet as it provides the best armor and evasion values out of all other options. The Deicide Mask is also a good alternative if you want to maximize evasion and energy shield. The crafting process is quite simple:

  1. Increase the quality of the helmet by using Armourer’s Scraps or Perfect Fossils

  2. Spam with Deafening Essence of Loathing until you get the following mods:

    1. % Increased Mana Reservation Efficiency of Skills (Essence mod)

    2. Chance to Suppress Spell Damage

    3. Chaos Resistance

    4. Elemental Resistance (if needed)

    5. + to Accuracy Rating (if needed)

    6. + to Maximum Life

    7. Increased Armour and Evasion

  3. Leave a prefix slot open so that you can put “+1 to Level of Socketed AoE Gems, (8-10)% Increased Area of Effect” from the Crafting Bench

  4. To cap off the helmet, use Grand Eldritch Ichors to get “9% Increased Mana Reservation Efficiency of Skills.” For the Searing Exarch implicit mod, use Grand Eldritch Embers to obtain “(23-24)% Reduced Mana Cost of Attacks”


Self-Crafted Helmet

With the mana changes that were implemented in Path of Exile 3.24 Necropolis League, the implicit modifiers mentioned above have become mandatory, so be sure to craft the helmet as soon as possible.

Gloves

The gloves can be crafted by using any essence of your choosing. This is also the equipment slot where your deficiencies can be sorted out. However, if you already have a 100% chance to hit enemies and your elemental resistances are fine, then we recommend that you use the Deafening Essence of Zeal for that guaranteed attack speed mod. Alternatively, you could spam the gloves with Deafening Essence of Loathing for that global critical strike chance mod. The choice is up to you.


You want to use an item level 85+ Dragonscale Gauntlets (STR/DEX) or Murder Mitts (DEX/INT)as a crafting base for a chance to get T1 spell suppression. Spam the gloves with the Essence of Zeal until you get the following:

  • + to Maximum Life

  • % Increased Armour and Evasion

  • +% Chance to Suppress Spell Damage

  • +% to Chaos Resistance

  • % Increased Attack Speed (from Essence)


After you have the explicit modifiers mentioned above, go to your Crafting Bench and put “(37-43)% Increased Damage While Leeching.” With the Large Cluster Jewels you’ll be using on this build, you are always leeching, so why not take advantage of that by improving it?


While the explicit modifiers are definitely helpful, especially in the endgame, what you really need from the gloves is the Eater of Worlds implicit mod, “% of Physical Damage Converted to Chaos Damage.” You want to get as close to 100% damage conversion as possible. Although the 60% conversion that the Cobra Lash gem provides is fine early on, you want to increase that to 95% by getting the 35% implicit mod from Eldritch Ichors.


To do that, you need to use Grand Eldritch Ichors until you get the mod. Then, you want to elevate that as many times as needed until you achieve the “Perfect” tier. This is only possible if you use Orb of Conflict. Here is a step-by-step guide:

  1. Spam the gloves with Grand Eldritch Ichors until you get “20% of Physical Damage Converted to Chaos Damage”

  2. Next, use a single Grand Eldritch Ember. The resulting mod doesn’t matter. You’re just doing this because the Orb of Conflict can only be utilized if you have both Searing Exarch and Eater of Worlds implicit modifiers on the item

  3. Then, use Orb of Conflict as many times as needed until you reach the “Perfect” tier. You may need several tries to achieve that or more depending on RNG

  4. Once you get “35% of Physical Damage Converted to Chaos Damage,” you can then use Grand Eldritch Embers again. Only this time, you’re going to spam the gloves until you obtain the mod, “10% Increased Attack Speed”


Self-Crafted Gloves (Endgame)


During the league start, you can wear Asenath’s Gentle Touch. When you have these gloves equipped, monsters that you’ve killed near corpses affected by your curse spells will explode, dealing a portion of their life as physical damage. This greatly enhances your map-clearing potential early on.


Asenath's Gentle Touch

Boots

As you reach the pinnacle content of Path of Exile, you want to make sure that you are immune to elemental ailments. To aid you in achieving that, you can craft a pair of boots using Deafening Essence of Loathing for that “(31-35)% Chance to Avoid Elemental Ailments” suffix. You want an item level 85+ Dragonscale Boots or Murder Bootsas the crafting base.


To craft the endgame boots, do the following:

  1. Use Perfect Fossils to increase the quality of the boots to at least 28%

  2. Spam the Deafening Essence of Loathing until you get these mods:

    1. +% Chance to Suppress Spell Damage

    2. STR/DEX or Chaos Resistance, whichever you need

    3. % Chance to Avoid Elemental Ailments (from Essence)

  3. Once you’ve obtained these mods, head to your Crafting Bench and put “Suffixes Cannot Be Changed.” After that, use a Veiled Orb to get a veiled prefix

  4. Go to Jun and unveil. You’re hoping to get the mod, “(25-30)% Increased Movement Speed, (13-16)% Chance to Gain Onslaught for 4 Seconds on Kill”

  5. After obtaining the mod, head to your Crafting Bench one last time and put “+70 to Maximum Life”

  6. If you still have an open prefix, use an Exalted Orb


For the implicit modifiers, use Grand Eldritch Ichors to get “(21-23)% Chance to Avoid Elemental Ailments and Grand Eldritch Embers for “5% Increased Action Speed.”


Self-Crafted Boots (with Onslaught Mod)

Rings

Your rings are a great source of accuracy rating and resistances. However, one of your rings must have the mod, “Curse enemies with Despair on hit.” Despair reduces the chaos resistance of affected enemies by 15%.


You can roll the said mod by getting any Hunter-influenced ring of your choosing with an item level of 82+. Then, go to your Harvest Bench and select “Reforge Caster” until you have it.


Go to the Crafting Bench and put “Non-Channeling Skills Have -7 to Total Mana Cost” and then use Exalted Orbs to fill the remaining affixes.


Self-crafted Ring (with Despair on Hit)


On the other ring, you can focus on elemental resistances, chaos resistances, or accuracy. Grab an Amethyst Ring (Chaos Resistance) or Iolite Ring (Chaos Damage) and use Harvest Reforge Chaos until you get the modifiers that you need for your character.


If you have an open prefix and you’re still struggling with keeping your mana afloat, you can put the non-channeling mod again. However, if your mana is already sorted out, you can bench-craft “17% Increased Damage” instead.


Self-crafted Ring

Amulet

For the amulet, you can equip Ashes of the Stars to gain +1 to Level of Skill Gems, which is useful in helping you achieve a level 25 Cobra Lash gem. Alternatively, you can craft a better amulet, though it will require some investment.


Here are the steps to crafting the +2 amulet:

  1. Get a good base amulet, preferably an ilvl 82+ Agate Amulet for that strength+intelligence implicit mod

  2. Next, use an Orb of Scouring and Orb of Transmutation to turn it into a magic (blue) item. Spam it with Orb of Alteration until you obtain the “+1 to Level of All Skill Gems” prefix. Then, use a Regal Orb to turn the amulet into a rare (yellow) item

  3. Make sure that there are no suffixes after using a Regal Orb. If it spawns a suffix, use an Orb of Annulment in the hopes of removing it. If it fails and you annulled off the skill gem mod, repeat step 2

  4. When you have all suffix slots open, go to you Crafting Bench and put the following mods in this exact order:

    1. Can Have up to 3 Crafted Modifiers

    2. Prefixes Cannot Be Changed

    3. Cannot Roll Attack Modifiers

  5. After the crafted mods are in place, go to your Harvest Bench and select “Add a New Chaos Modifier and Remove Another Random Modifier from a Non-Influenced Item.” This guarantees the mod, “+1 to Level of All Chaos Skill Gems”

  6. Since you have the prefixes that you need, the next step is to use a Hunter Exalted Orb to obtain either “+% to Chaos Damage Over Time Multiplier” or “Malevolence has (40-50)% Increased Mana Reservation Efficiency.” Just to be safe, populate all of your prefix slots if it is not filled yet. This is to ensure that you are getting a suffix mod instead of a prefix. If you still have the multi-mod, just use the Crafting Bench again and put any prefix

  7. When you have everything, go to the Crafting Bench and select “Remove Crafted Modifiers.” After that, put any of the mods that you want for your Cobra Lash Assassin using the Crafting Bench, and fill the last suffix with an Exalted Orb


Self-Crafted Amulet


You can also anoint it with the following:

  • Corruption: 20% Increased effect of Withered (Crimson Oil, 2x Black Oils)

  • Heart of Darkness: 27% increased chaos damage; Damage penetrates 7% chaos resistance (Opalescent Oil, 2x Azure Oil)

  • Serpentine Spellslinger: Spell skills have +12% to damage over time multiplier for poison; enemies poisoned by you have -5% to chaos resistance (Opalescent Oil, Indigo Oil, Violet Oil)

  • Whispers of Doom: You can apply an additional curse (3x Golden Oils)

    • Only anoint this if you do not have the endgame body armor equipped

Belt

The Belt of the Deceiver is a cheap unique belt that provides physical damage, life, and elemental resistances. However, the main reason why you want to equip this belt early on is that nearby enemies are intimidated, causing them to take more damage. Besides that, you take 30% reduced extra damage from critical strikes, which helps improve your survivability. Snag this belt up from the trade website a few days into a new league.


Belt of the Deceiver


Alternatively, you can craft your own belt by using the Stygian Vise as the base. This belt allows you to insert an abyssal jewel to enhance the damage of the Cobra Lash Assassin. That being said, spam the belt with Essence of Envy (Chaos Resistance) until you get life, elemental resistances, and other mods that you still need.


Self-crafted Stygian Vise (Budget)

Flasks

  • Jade Flask

  • Granite Flask

  • Diamond Flask

  • Quicksilver Flask

  • Life Flask/Atziri’s Promise

Flask Mods

  • Increased Movement Speed (of the Cheetah)

  • Increased Attack Speed (of the Dove)

  • Increased Evasion Rating (of the Impala)

  • Increased Critical Strike Chance (of Incision) OR Increased Armour (of the Armadillo)

  • Corrupted Blood Immunity (Life Flask)

Jewels

There are some useful jewels you can add to your Cobra Lash Assassin build. First is a Watcher’s Eye that has the following mods:

  • Chance to evade attack hits while affected by Grace

  • Chance to suppress spell damage while affected by Grace

  • Increased movement speed while affected by Grace

  • Damaging ailments you inflict deal damage 12% faster while affected by Malevolence

  • Physical damage from hits taken as fire/cold/lightning damage while affected by Purity of Elements

  • 30-50% to chaos resistance while affected by Purity of Elements

  • Unaffected by Elemental Weakness while affected by Purity of Elements

  • % Increased Attack Speed While Affected by Precision

  • +% to Critical Strike Multiplier While Affected by Precision


For base jewels, acquire one that has the “Corrupted Blood cannot be inflicted on you” mod. This allows you to forgo a life flask in favor of Atziri’s Promise or another utility flask of your choosing. Other mods you should look for include:

  • % Increased maximum life

  • % Increased claw damage

  • % Increased projectile damage

  • % Increased chaos damage

  • % Increased global physical damage

  • % Chance to poison on hit

  • Gain life per enemy hit with attacks

  • Elemental or Chaos Resistance

  • Strength/Intelligence


Once you have enough currency, there are a couple of unique jewels you can invest in. Intuitive Leap lets you allocate passive skills in its radius without being connected to your tree. You will insert this jewel right beside the Supreme Ego keystone. Doing so enables you to allocate Charisma and Dire Torment.


If you have tons of Divine Orbs at your disposal, you can buy a Forbidden Jewel set that grants you the ascendancy notable passive, Polymath. This is pretty huge as it gives you a 3% “more” damage multiplier for each different type of mastery you have allocated. You also recover 1% HP, mana, and energy shield on kill for every different type of mastery you have on your tree.

Cluster Jewels

This build can greatly benefit from a number of cluster jewel notables. Here are some that you can consider:

  • Fan of Blades: Increases Cobra Lash projectiles by one. This can be acquired from any Claw-based Large Cluster Jewel. Use Orb of Alteration on a magic Large Cluster Jewel until you get the mod, then just use Exalted Orb to fill the rest

  • Unholy Grace: This notable passive skill is a must-have for any Cobra Lash build because it provides 30% increased chaos damage and 10% increased attack/cast speed. Always remember that the more attack speed you have, the less time it takes for every enemy on the screen to be poisoned by your projectiles.

  • Unwaveringly Evil: Apart from giving you 30% increased chaos damage, your chaos skills are not interrupted when you are stunned. 

  • Disease Vector: Poison is a status effect that deals damage over time. You want to make sure that your foes do not regenerate HP to maximize damage. With Disease Vector, enemies poisoned by you cannot regenerate life. On top of that, you get an additional 6% damage over time multiplier for poison while wielding a claw or dagger. 

  • Follow-Through: Each enemy hit by Cobra Lash always has “remaining chains.” Follow-Through makes your projectiles deal 15% increased damage with hits and ailments for each remaining chain, making this another essential notable passive that you should consider adding to your build. This can roll on medium cluster jewels that increase projectile damage or on a Megalomaniac unique jewel.

  • Repeater: This is the best mod that you can pair with Follow-Through as it can roll on the same type of medium cluster jewel. This increases your projectile damage by 30% and attack speed by 8%.


Fan of Blades is the most important notable skill from the list above. It enables you to fire an additional projectile, which helps improve your map-clearing speed immensely. On top of that, it increases projectile damage when you are using a dagger or a claw.


While Fan of Blades is awesome for the Cobra Lash Assassin, you have to be patient when rolling the Claw/Dagger Damage Large Cluster Jewel. That is because this is one of the rarer mods that can appear. If spamming it with Orb of Alteration does not work for you, the alternative is to use Harvest Reforge Attack since it has the “Attack” tag.


The Follow-Through + Repeater Medium Cluster Jewel is easy to acquire. Just get yourself a Projectile-based Medium Cluster Jewel and use your Harvest Bench’s “Reforge Caster” option. This guarantees the “Repeater” mod since it has the “Caster” tag. Just reforge caster until you obtain Follow-Through.

Gems

The gem setups for the Cobra Lash Assassin are relatively flexible. Apart from the main gem links and totems, you have the freedom to use any gem you like.

Body Armor

  • Cobra Lash

  • Awakened Void Manipulation

  • Awakened Added Chaos Damage

  • Awakened Vicious Projectiles

  • Unbound Ailments

  • Cruelty Support


Despite the lack of any Transfigured Gem, the base version of Cobra Lash got considerable buffs to compensate for the removal of helmet enchants and alt-quality gems. First, the gem itself now has an 8% more damage multiplier instead of a measly 5% for each remaining chain. Second, increasing Cobra Lash’s quality now provides up to two additional chains rather than getting a 30% critical strike chance, thus increasing the total number of chains to seven (up from five).


Just like in the previous leagues, you should increase the gem’s level to 21 by corrupting a level 20 Cobra Lash gem with a Vaal Orb. This is so that you will gain an additional chain when it reaches level 25 with the help of your amulet and other pieces of gear.


You can achieve that by getting the “awakened” versions of Added Chaos Damage and Void Manipulation. Then, acquire an amulet that increases the level of chaos skill gems by one.


If you have currency to spare, craft a body armor that has the mods, “+1 level to socketed active skill gems” and “+10% to quality of socketed active skill gems.” This body armor, combined with the support gems mentioned above, will let you achieve a level 25 Cobra Lash gem that deals insane amounts of damage.


Aside from Added Chaos Damage and Void Manipulation, you will also use Unbound Ailments, Awakened Vicious Projectiles, and Cruelty Support for the last remaining support gems.


Unbound Ailments is a support gem that increases the duration and damage of poisons you inflict on enemies. Awakened Vicious Projectiles grants you 10% increased physical damage, 60% more chaos damage over time, and 60% more physical projectile attack damage. Cruelty Support gives you the Cruelty buff, which increases your poison’s damage over time by 40%.


Now, if you don’t have currency yet to craft a rare body armor with the above-mentioned mods, the Dendrobate unique sentinel jacket is a viable alternative. What makes this unique armor great for this build is that it increases your poison damage by up to 100% if you have at least 300 dexterity. Since the Assassin is naturally a DEX character, you will have no problems satisfying that requirement.


The Dendrobate has other good mods as well, such as 25% to all elemental resistances, +40 to maximum energy shield, and 150% increased evasion and energy shield.

Boots

  • Malevolence

  • Grace

  • Purity of Elements

  • Enlighten Support


This is your aura setup. Here, you will put three aura gems, namely Malevolence, Purity of Elements, and Grace. Malevolence ups your damage over time multiplier so that your poisons can kill enemies in a jiffy.


Purity of Elements is a godsend as it helps you cap your elemental resistances easily. Just put some elemental resistances on some of your equipment and this aura will handle the rest.


Since you’re going to use mainly armor/evasion-based gear, using Grace is a no-brainer. This gem provides flat evasion and % evasion rating, allowing you to achieve a 90% chance to evade attacks when equipping the right stuff.


To make sure that you have enough mana to activate these auras, you’re going to include the Enlighten Support gem here as well. A level 3 Enlighten gem is enough, but a level 4 gem is even better.

Gloves

  • Ancestral Protector

  • Withering Touch Support

  • Precision

  • Arrogance Support


The Ancestral Protector is a totem that you should use whenever you encounter a tough enemy or boss. This totem increases your attack speed so that you can stack your poisons on these targets in no time. Although you lose the 50% increased buff effect provided by the “Phantasmal” version due to the removal of alt-quality gems in Patch 3.23, the base gem has been buffed to give 20% “more” attack speed to compensate.


Because you’ve linked Withering Touch support to the Ancestral Protector gem, each time the totem attacks, it inflicts the Withered debuff, effectively reducing the target’s chaos resistance on each hit.


Precision is an aura in PoE that increases your crit chance. But more importantly, you will activate this aura mainly to aid you in capping your accuracy.


Since you will not have enough mana to activate Precision through normal means, you have to link it with Arrogance Support so that it reserves life instead of mana. Do not worry too much about your HP because this build has insane life leech. This means that any damage you incur can easily be recovered, so long as you keep on attacking enemies.

Helmet (Budget)

  • Plague Bearer

  • Withering Step

  • Empower Support

  • Increased Area of Effect


Plague Bearer is a great complementary skill for the Cobra Lash Assassin, especially if you do not have access to better gear yet. To get the most out of it, you simply attack with your Cobra Lash while Plague Bearer is deactivated. Once you have accumulated enough poison damage, use Plague Bearer and watch as your enemies melt away due to heavy chaos damage!


Withering Step is a buff that boosts your movement speed and grants the “Elusive” effect, making you less likely to get hit by monsters. It also inflicts the “Wither” debuff on nearby enemies, causing them to take increased chaos damage as a result.


Because you can no longer bind instant skills on the left mouse button, you’d have to manually activate Withering Step when it is available. You could automate this one by linking it with the aptly named Automation support gem, but this costs a gem slot that is better suited for other things.


Speaking of which, since Plague Bearer and Withering Step are spell skill gems, they work much better at higher gem levels. For this reason, you will include a level 4 Empower Support to raise their levels by three.


Increased Area of Effect is a support gem that basically makes Plague Bearer and Withering Step cover a much wider area,  thus affecting more enemies than usual.

Helmet (Alternate)

  • Tornado

  • Cast on Critical Strike

  • Power Charge on Critical

  • Whirling Blades 


For you to be able to inflict poison on enemies consistently with Cobra Lash’s projectiles, you need to have as many critical strike chance mods as possible. If you’re struggling to reach a high number, this gem setup helps you with that.


So, how does this work? Simply use Whirling Blades to go in and out of monster packs. Doing so will trigger Tornado which will then activate the Power Charge on Critical Support gem. This enables you to gain Power Charges, increasing your critical strike chance in the process. The combo works even better if you have the Unstable Infusion ascendancy passive.


Make sure that you do not have the “Always Attack without Moving” option enabled on your Whirling Blades. This is so that you can only use the skill whenever there is an enemy nearby, thus alleviating the need to aim manually.

Main Weapon

  • Sniper’s Mark/Assassin’s Mark/Poacher’s Mark

  • Mark on Hit Support

  • Lifetap 


Sniper’s Mark puts a curse on an enemy that makes your projectiles split toward four additional targets. This helps immensely with clear speed. And, since you link it with Mark on Hit Support, you don’t even have to cast Sniper’s Mark manually. The curse is automatically applied whenever you hit a rare or unique enemy.


Now, you might be wondering why we’ve included the Lifetap support gem in this setup. Well, you don’t want to waste your mana every time Sniper’s Mark is cast. This is even more so now considering that helmet enchants that increase the mana reservation of specific skills have been removed from the game since the last league. Lifetap uses your HP rather than your mana to cast the active skill gem it is linked to. Because of this, you will always apply Sniper’s Mark on rare or unique enemies without worrying about mana.


Now, Sniper’s Mark has been nerfed heavily in the 3.24 Necropolis League. So what has changed? Well, cursed enemies now only take 29% increased damage from projectile hits at gem level 20, which is a noticeable decrease from the previous league (which was 35%).


But, the biggest nerf, in our opinion, is that projectiles that hit cursed enemies now only split towards two additional targets instead of four. This can impact your map-clearing speeds, particularly when you have played the Cobra Lash Assassin before.


While Sniper’s Mark is still a viable Mark skill, you are no longer forced to use it on this build. This opens up avenues for Assassin’s Mark or Poacher’s Mark to come in. The former greatly increases your crit chance and critical strike multiplier against cursed enemies. The latter allows you to gain life, mana, and Frenzy Charges when attacking and killing monsters that are affected by the Mark skill.


With that said, it is now up to you which Mark skill you want to use on the build.

Shield

  • Immortal Call (Lvl 2)

  • Cast when Damage Taken (Lvl 1)

  • Lifetap (Lvl 1)


Immortal Call improves your survivability by making you take less physical and elemental damage for a short period of time. The process of activating the gem is automated by linking Immortal Call to Cast when Damage Taken Support and Lifetap.

Shield (for Budget Version)

  • Whirling Blades

  • Faster Attacks Support

  • Frostblink


The gems that are on here are only for the budget version of the build. In this setup, Whirling Blades is linked to Faster Attacks Support so that the skill feels a lot smoother to use.


Frostblink has replaced Flame Dash as our favorite movement skill. This is because its effectiveness of added damage received a sizable buff in Path of Exile 3.24 Necropolis League. Of course, you could switch this to Flame Dash if you want to.

Tattoos

The removal of the Warden of the Maji in Patch 3.24 is a huge one because this secondary ascendancy class gave you access to Tinctures, specifically the Poisonberry Tincture. This used to ensure that your attacks inflict poison on the enemy at all times.


Fortunately, GGG gives you an alternative: Tattoos! That’s right, the Tattoos from a couple of leagues ago have returned in the Necropolis League, so you can still improve your chance to poison on hit by using the appropriate ones.


Speaking of which, here are the Tattoos that we recommend for the Cobra Lash Assassin:

  • Tattoo of the Tawhoa Shaman

    • 5% Chance to Poison on Hit

  • Tattoo of the Tawhoa Warrior

    • 5% Increased Chaos Damage

  • Tattoo of the Tasalio Scout

    • 4% Increased Effect of Your Marks

  • Tattoo of the Tasalio Warrior

    • 5% Chance to Blind Enemies on Hit with Attacks

  • Tattoo of the Ramako Sniper

    • 5% Increased Projectile Speed

  • Tattoo of the Ramako Shaman

    • +2% Chance to Suppress Spell Damage

  • Tattoo of the Ramako Fleetfoot

    • 2% Increased Movement Speed

Passive Tree


Passive Tree for the Cobra Lash Assassin

POB

Cobra Lash Assassin (Budget/Main)


Cobra Lash Assassin (Alternate)

Final Thoughts

The Cobra Lash Assassin utilizes poison build-up on enemies to deal insane amounts of damage. It has a high attack speed and critical strike chance that allow you to eliminate every enemy on the map without even trying!


This build can be played as a league starter and it scales really well the more currency you put into it. Although you have to craft some of the gear yourself, that is not a huge issue, especially if you are a few days into the league because more essences will flood the market. If you need any help, you can bookmark our ultimate crafting guide for future reference.


Although the removal of the Wildwood Ascendancies in Path of Exile 3.24 Necropolis League is harsh, the good news is that GGG has brought back Tattoos to the game. They may not be as good as the secondary ascendancy classes, but they are still better than nothing.


All in all, the Cobra Lash Assassin is a great fun build that you’ll definitely enjoy! So, if you are looking for a competent league starter that you can use well into the endgame, this is a worthy contender!


With all of that said, good luck on your adventures in Wraeclast, Exile!

PROS

+Amazing league starter

+Deals deadly poisons to make quick work of the enemy

+Can work with budget, self-found gear

+Invest more currency to make the build better

+Still worth playing in Patch 3.24

CONS

-The removal of Tinctures and the Warden of the Maji is harsh

-Boss-killing potential requires heavy investment

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